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13 April, 2022

GP placement scheme needs overhaul: Katter

MEDICAL students in the bonded medical place scheme, in which taxpayers foot $100,000 for their degrees if they pledge to work in the bush after they graduate, should be required to complete their rural service in the immediate three years after they graduate, says Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter.


Photo | Dreamstime

Currently doctors in the scheme have 18 years to complete their rural service and reporting by the media last week shows only four per cent of the 13,000 participants in the scheme have completed their rural service and five per cent have withdrawn from the scheme. 

Mr Katter has written to Health Minister Greg Hunt and urged him to act immediately by reducing the time given to complete rural service. 

“The government and health department did excellent work in establishing this scheme but having 18 years to complete the requirement to go rural is just unrealistic and is resulting in undesirable outcomes,” Mr Katter said. 

“No doctor after living in Brisbane on a much higher wage for a few years, is going to cart their family back to the boondocks. It’s never going to happen, and the stats show that. 

“They should go out in the first three years, or they’ll receive no incentive at all.” 

Mr Katter said despite 2,000 doctors being trained through James Cook University, there was still a chronic shortage of GPs in rural or regional areas. 

“If the Health Minister cuts down the time given to complete rural service under a bonded medical place scheme from 18 years to the first three years, then I think we’ll see a noticeable change.”

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